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Van Gisbergen 'just got wrecked' to complete last after Chicago crash

Van Gisbergen 'just got wrecked' to complete last after Chicago crash

Van Gisbergen entered the Cup race in Chicago with high hopes, and never simply because he was the defending champion. The New Zealander also won Saturday's NASCAR Xfinity Series race from the pole position. He began Sunday's Cup race from fifth and quickly took the lead.

SVG managed to take the highest spot from Ty Gibbs as they negotiated the slower traffic in a three-wide coming out of the ultimate corner, winning the primary stage, which ended under caution because the rain picked up.

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The entire field switched to rain tires initially of the second stage. Van Gisbergen was fifth after pit stops but had no likelihood of fighting his way back to the front. On the primary lap of the restart, Chase Briscoe lost control at Turn 6, locking his tires and aquaplaning. He clipped Van Gisbergen’s No. 16 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet along with his rear, which hit the skin wall and was unable to proceed.

Briscoe's No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing went into the tire barriers after contact. SVG shall be classified fortieth within the order, ending last. The race was stopped by a red flag as rain began to fall.

After being released from the in-house care facility, the three-time Supercars champion reacted as follows to the incident: “Yeah, it's bad. It sucks. Unfortunate mistake on his part [Briscoe]. I'm sure he didn't mean it. But yeah, when he just hit me, I couldn't do anything.

He continued to NBC, “Of course I'm disappointed. We had a really awesome Camaro out there. Kaulig and Trackhouse gave us a great car. We were able to drive and I felt like I was driving well within my capabilities. So yeah, it's a shame we got out so early and it's a shame we couldn't have a shot at the end.”

Looking ahead, he named race leaders Ty Gibbs, Christopher Bell and Kyle Larson as favorites to win the event in his absence.

“Well, we had some really cool battles with them and respect. Really fair. So yeah, I think any of the top three is a favorite.”

The weather was continually changing. The race began on a partly damp track with most riders on slicks before conditions modified to completely wet conditions towards the top of the primary stage.

“It was good,” van Gisbergen said of the track conditions. “But on the slicks it was a bit uncertain and I hated being the leader. Whoever was the leader, you could see they were slowing down, not knowing what the conditions were going to be. Once I got in front, I was always unsure what was going to happen, so I had to slow down a bit, so yeah. But I had a lot of fun… until then.”

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